February 2019 O&M Newsletter

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February 2019

In this issue:


Feb. 5 & 6 - MWUA - 93rd Annual February Meeting & Trade Show, Portland, Variable TCH

Feb. 12 - MRWA - Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), Jay, DEP 12 TCH

Feb. 13 & 14 - JETCC - Wastewater 101, Jay, DEP 12 TCH

Feb. 22 - MRWA - Basic Map & Plan Reading, Madison, DEP 4 TCH, BLWSO 4 TCH

Feb. 26 - MRWA - Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), Lewiston, DEP 4 TCH, BLWSO 4 TCH

Feb. 26 - JETCC - Innovative Technologies to Promote Energy Conservation, Fairfield, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Feb. 27 - JETCC - Facility Operation in Cold Climates, York, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Mar. 5, 7, 12, & 14 - MRWA - Class II Treatment Certification Exam Preparatory Course (A 4 Day Course), Bangor, DEP 10 TCH, BLWSO 20 TCH

Mar. 5 - JETCC - Hands-On Laboratory Training, Lewiston, DEP 6 TCH

Mar. 12 - JETCC - Wastewater Laboratory Basics, Augusta, DEP 6 TCH

Mar. 19 - JETCC - Maintenance of Rotating Equipment, Augusta, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Mar. 20 & 21 - JETCC - Activated Sludge Process Control, Kennebunk, DEP 12 TCH

Mar. 21 - NEWEA - Plant Operations Conference & Exhibit, Billerica MA, Variable TCH

Mar. 26 - JETCC - Hands-On Laboratory Training, Brewer, DEP 6 TCH

April 24 & 25 - JETCC - 2019 North Country Convention, Presque Isle, Variable TCH

It’s Not Too Late to Register for Upcoming Conferences and Events!

There’s still time to register for the Maine Water Utilities Association (MWUA) 93rd Annual February Meeting & Trade Show at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland on February 5-6, 2019. For more information go to www.mwua.org.

Join JETCC, MeWEA and MWUA in Presque Isle on April 24-25 for the North Country Convention. New this year…the conference will be held at Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) so that attendees can view the facilities of the new Water & Wastewater Technology program. For more information go to www.jetcc.org.

We need HELP! Clean Watershed Needs Survey

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is reaching out to all Maine municipal and quasi-municipal wastewater entities to gather information on the state’s wastewater infrastructure via our 2019 Clean Watersheds “Needs Survey” (CWNS). The last Official Survey was conducted in 2012, therefore more up-to-date information is needed to benefit the state and its communities.

What we need from you now is to provide us with your wastewater needs information that reflects the current situation in your entity. The CWNS is located at https://www.maine.gov/dep/water/wwtreatment/index.html. The Survey has detailed instructions on how to fill out the information on your facility, financial status, and wastewater needs. We encourage you to use any Asset Management Programs (if you have generated them previously) to assist you while evaluating your needs, and we stress that any needs you list in this survey should be consistent with such programs.

Completion of this survey is crucial because it allows the Department to provide the gathered wastewater needs information to both the Executive and Legislative branches of state government, thus justifying funds for both the state match in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program and State bonds or sustainable funding mechanisms for grants.

To secure the needed funding for wastewater infrastructure in Maine, our goal is to have 100% participation from all publicly owned treatment works and satellite collection systems. To lend credibility to the survey, costs must be supported by acceptable documentation. A list of the acceptable documentation types is included in the attached Needs Information Instructions. Even if your system has no documented needs, we are requesting that you complete the Facility Information and User Rate Information portions of the survey.

Please submit your completed survey sheets electronically to brandy.m.piers@maine.gov by March 15, 2019. Electronic submission is preferred, but if it is not possible, please mail to the physical address specified in the General Survey Instructions. Should you have any questions as you fill out the survey please contact Brandy Piers at (207) 287-6093 or Andrew Purgiel at (207) 287-2730.

Please complete this survey and help us help you get future money for your system!

NetDMR & Furlough

NetDMR Still Operational During the Federal Government Furlough

There has recently been an agreement to fund the federal government through February 15th.  Hopefully there will be a long-term solution before mid-February to avoid another furlough of federal workers. In the event that there is another furlough, please keep reading for some notes on how this might affect NetDMR services.

NetDMR will remain up and running regardless of the funding status of the federal government and should be used to submit monthly DMRs as usual. If that changes, DEP will contact users through your NetDMR email. There have been sporadic reports of users having trouble logging into NetDMR during the past couple weeks, it’s unclear if these were related to the furlough but service has been restored quickly each time. If you have trouble logging into NetDMR or submitting your DMR, try again later that day or the next day. If you still cannot submit, contact your inspector or the NetDMR coordinator.

The CDX Help Desk (888-890-1995) is still available as the primary resource for assistance to help users create CDX accounts, change email address/organization and help resetting passwords and security questions. While the NPDES eReporting Help Desk and EPA HQ Help Desk are unavailable during the furlough, in our experience at Maine DEP this level of technical support is rarely needed.

During the furlough, all technical issues that cannot be resolved by the NetDMR coordinator will be directed to the CDX Help Desk (https://cdx.epa.gov/Contact). With all other technical support unavailable, the CDX Help Desk will attempt to assist with any NetDMR and CDX issues until the end of the furlough.

If you have any questions or problems, contact the NetDMR Coordinator at Brett.A.Goodrich@maine.gov or 207-287-9034.

Quality Control (QC) Requirements for BOD by SM5210B-2011

BOD is one of the most commonly performed tests in the wastewater laboratory. Although the analytical techniques used in Standard Methods 5210B (SM5210) are mostly straightforward, there are several critical factors than can affect the quality of the data. This article will address Quality Control (QC) requirements for operators performing BOD testing and offer suggestions to maintain data quality.

SM5210B contains quality control checks that are intended to evaluate dilution water quality, seed effectiveness, and analytical technique. The key quality control items listed in SM5210B are:

1. Calibrate dissolved oxygen (DO) meter
2. Check for minimum residual DO and minimum DO depletion (R1D2 Rule)
3. Glucose-glutamic acid (GGA) check
4. Dilution water check
5. Replicate sample analysis

Calibrating the DO meter must be performed each day the meters is used to analyze samples, prior to reading any samples. Follow your DO meter manufacturer’s instructions for calibrating your DO meter. 

The oxygen solubility in water (the maximum amount of oxygen that can dissolve in water) is affected by the temperature of the water as well as the barometric pressure of the air surrounding the bottle. If your probe does not automatically adjust for these values, then you will need to determine the oxygen solubility at the temperature/barometric conditions when the calibration is performed. Charts are available that show the maximum oxygen solubility at various temperature/barometric pressure combinations. To find the percent oxygen saturation of the water divide the measured DO value by the oxygen solubility level from the chart.

USGS has a website dedicated to DO solubility tables https://water.usgs.gov/software/DOTABLES/. This website can be used to determine the percent saturation of oxygen at any temperature/barometric pressure combination. There is also a tool available to generate custom tables with specific temperature and barometric pressure ranges in either Celsius or Fahrenheit units. 

Minimum residual DO and minimum DO depletion for samples and seed controls. To be considered valid a bottle must have 1 mg/L residual DO and show depletion of least 2.0 mg/L (R1D2 Rule).

GGA checks should be performed on a regular basis to assess accuracy and precision of the BOD testing performed by your laboratory. According to SM5210B 6.b, GGA checks should be performed with each batch of samples, however a reduced frequency may be acceptable for your facility provided other quality control practices are being performed and results are routinely within acceptable ranges. According to Maine DEP guidance the minimum frequency for GGA analysis is once every ten sets of samples or once per month, whichever is greater. The GGA check results should be in the range 167.5 mg/L -228.5 mg/L. Consistently high GGA results can indicate contaminated dilution water, the use of too much seed suspension, or the occurrence of nitrification. Low GGA results can indicate a problem with the GGA solution, dilution water or seed source. Contact your Compliance Inspector if you have a failed GGA check for assistance with determining how to proceed.

Dilution water blanks should be performed with each batch of samples to check the quality of the unseeded dilution water as well as the cleanliness of the dilution bottles. This water contains nutrient, mineral and buffer solutions but no seed or nitrification inhibitor. SM5210B 6.c requires the dilution water blank to show DO depletion of not more than 0.20 mg/L.

Replicates are samples that are subdivided into 2 or more samples in the laboratory and tested individually. BOD replicates should be performed once every 10 set of samples or once per month, whichever is greater. Replicates should show no more than 30% difference between low and high values. Replicates with greater than 30% difference may indicate analytical problems or presence of toxic substances in the sample, an investigation should be performed to identify the cause.

Performing these quality control practices and properly analyzing the results are an integral part of producing valid and defensible data. By looking at trends in the quality control data over time it is possible to spot potential problems with seed effectiveness, dilution water, or analytical technique before they adversely affect sample results.  

Friendly Reminder: Timely Renewal of Wastewater Operator Certification

On May 24, 2017, the Department sent all operators a letter outlining the requirements for timely renewal of your wastewater operator certification.  The deadline for odd numbered certifications is March 1, 2019.  This letter is available on the Department’s web site at: 


2018 Annual CSO Report

Just a friendly reminder to all CSO communities that your Annual CSO Progress Report for 2018, along with your Activity and Volumes spreadsheet for 2018, is due by March 1, 2019. Submission of these reports is essential in tracking the progress that CSO communities in Maine are making with respect to CSO abatement. All CSO communities should have received an e-mail around January 4, 2019 with instructions for filling out each form. If you have not received this e-mail please contact Mike Riley, CSO Coordinator at 287-7766. We greatly appreciate your assistance in tracking annual CSO abatement in your community.

Wastewater Infrastructure Planning & Construction Grant Funding

Do you need Wastewater Infrastructure Planning and Construction GRANT FUNDS?

On November 8th, 2018, an email was sent out too each wastewater community with the details on how to apply, which can also be found on the website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/grants/srfparag.html.

These funds were approved by the voters on November 6, 2018, Referendum Question No. 2, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Fund Wastewater Infrastructure Projects.

Need Help PLANNING your next wastewater project?

There is No Deadline for submission of planning grant applications.  Applications may be submitted throughout the year and will be processed and awarded to eligible applicants in order of receipt, until allocated funds are expended.

The Department has allocated $125,000 of the bond proceeds for Planning Grants.  Grants may be awarded an amount up to 25% of the eligible costs for preliminary planning of a pollution abatement plan, i.e. facilities plan, preliminary engineering report, etc.  To assist as many applicants as possible, grant awards will be limited to a maximum of $10,000 per applicantTo be eligible for a planning grant, the applicant’s Points must be 7.0, or higher. (See website above for details)

Are you ready to DESIGN and CONSTRUCT your wastewater project?

Well you’re not too late to apply! The Deadline is February 15, 2019 before 5:00p.m. The Department has allocated $13,650,000 of the bond funds to assist your wastewater community in the design and construction of wastewater infrastructure. GRANTS may be awarded for eligible design costs from 15-25% and up of 80% of the eligible construction costs (bidding, construction administration and inspection, and construction). The applicant’s Points will be calculated taking into consideration the estimated project cost and all funding sources.

The intent in distribution of the grant funding is to assist municipalities that would:

1) experience a significant hardship raising the revenue necessary to finance their project;
2) leverage the grant funds with funding from other agencies to make projects possible that otherwise would not be; and
3) address environmental water quality concerns.

Applicants will be required to submit a Preliminary  Engineering Report (PER) prepared by a Professional Engineer Licensed in the State of Maine, and prepared in accordance with the Interagency Memorandum (see US EPA website https://www.epa.gov/tribal/infrastructure-task-force-preliminary-engineering-report ).

Applicants will also be required to develop and implement an Asset Management Plan in accordance with the most recent Clean Water State Revolving Fund Requirements and Guidance for a Fiscal Sustainability Plan.  The Asset Management planning area will be negotiated with the Department and will cover, at a minimum, the financed project and other assets in the same group, i.e. other pumping stations, other sewers in the same sewershed, the treatment plant for upgrade projects, etc.

The maximum grant awarded based on Affordability (Need) and Environmental Benefit shall not exceed $2,000,000 per applicant. To be eligible for a Design/Construction grant, the applicant’s Points must be 7.0, or higher. (See website above for details)

What do you NEED to do to APPLY?

Submit for PLANNING GRANT funds throughout the year:

o 2018 Application Form for Wastewater Planning State Grant
o Wastewater Planning Grant User Rate Calculator
o 2018 Grant Affordability Points Calculator

Submit for DESIGN and CONSTRUCTION GRANT funds DON’T MISS the DEADLINE February 15, 2019:

o 2018 Application Form for Wastewater Infrastructure State Grant
o Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) prepared by a Professional Engineer Licensed in the State of Maine.
o Wastewater Infrastructure Grant User Rate Calculator
o 2018 Grant Affordability Points Calculator

Who should you send applications too and who do you call with QUESTIONS?

Applications and all additional documents for wastewater planning and infrastructure design and construction grants are located at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/grants/srfparag.html and should be emailed to Brandy Piers (at the email address listed below). For more information, please contact Brandy Piers at (207) 287-6093, brandy.m.piers@maine.gov, or John True at (207) 287 7808, john.n.true@maine.gov.